Memories in Photos and Story

"Rabbi David Zeller, Of Blessed Memory, was an internationally known musician, lecturer, and workshop leader in Jewish mysticism, spirituality and meditation, as well as in transpersonal psychology.

From singing, dancing and learning with Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach in 1966, to eastern meditation practices, enriched through two years in Israel and a year in India, Reb Zeller returned to the West in 1972, helping to pioneer the newly emerging field of Transpersonal psychology. During his life he formed the Network of Conscious Judaism and after moving to Israel helped establish Yakar: Center for Tradition and Creativity, and Shevet ("sitting"): Center for Jewish Spirituality and Meditation." -
Reb Dovid Zeller, z'tl, passed over on May 25, 2007, 8 Sivan 5767, after battling (the last year of his life) a rare blood disease.
See more photos at end of story.

photo by Joy Krauthammer ©


Baruch Dayan HaEmet

 I wrote this letter upon hearing of the greatest sadness of losing our dear Rabbi David Zeller, z'l. As I call upon my memory of David Zeller, what I receive completely, is a feeling from Reb David of embracing, encompassing love and compassion, for me, for chevre. How better to emulate the Divine One, our Master of the Universe. Ner Hashem Nishmat Adam. David's soul is the shining lamp of G*d. May we continue to send love to David through our good deeds in his zechut.

BlesSings, JOY Krauthammer

One of the sweetest images I have from 1992 is of David pushing his baby in the baby carriage back home around 1 AM in Jerusalem, following a concert that he performed with our beloved Reb Shlomo Carlebach, zt'l.

May 27, 2007

Dovid Zeller, zt"l
Baruch Dayan HaEmet

Dear Chevra,

My deepest condolences to us all. May Reb Dovid Zeller's z'tl family, wife, Hannah Sara, children, and sister, be comforted by the Compassionate One, amongat all mourners of Zion and Yerushalayim. May his loved ones find the strength, given by the Holy One, to endure these difficult, sad, mourning days.

May Reb Dovid's neshama / soul soar and have an easy and sweet aliyah, ascending and expanding to a very high place awaiting him in Sh'mayim / heaven and G*d's Greatness. May his soul find complete peaceful rest.

"Ner HaShem Nishmat Ha'Adam." The light of the Compassionate One is the soul of the human being.

Rabbi Zeller has returned to "The Land of His Soul".

Reb Dovid Zeller, z'tl was my passport into Renewal Judaism, the land of my soul, and to my chevre, and a golden connecting link to my Orthodox community (Happy Minyan), and he knows that he has remained that way these last two decades, being close to my heart. Reb Zeller was all about heart, and he put his multi-dimensional (beyond physicality) art of song into that heart, just as his first wife, Elana, z'l, had put her heart into her 2 D painting art.

Yesterday morning, while I was with Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi for Shavuot in the Berkshires at Elat Chayyim and where we had sung Reb Dovid's songs, Reb Zalman shared with us this very very sad news of Rabbi Zeller's death the night before, from this earthly world into the next "after-life" world. Could there be anyone else more spiritually awakened than our beloved Reb Zeller? Could anyone leading up to their transition from this life-cycle and death have, in their sweetness of heart, attained a more clear meditative state of awareness?

Reb Zeller died on the 8th of Sivan, 5767 as we had prepared for and reached Mt. Sinai to receive Torah; Just in time to spend Shabbat with the holy angels that he sang of to us all around the world. Hashem must have mamash needed Reb Dovid. Reb Dovid was kissed by G*d on the 8th, being the most spiritual number, one of covenant, one number beyond all physicality.

On my introspective day long journey home yesterday from the East Coast retreat to Los Angeles, the only thought that halted my tears of sadness, tears felt for the great loss that Reb Zeller's family now has, is that Reb Dovid is with beloved Reb Shlomo Carlebach, z'tl (and they can again sing together), The Ba'al Shem Tov (whose yahrzeit is on Shavuot), Rebbe Nachman, his recently deceased wonderful mother -- Leonora, z'l, his father, z'l, Elana--his loving first wife, z'tl, all those Jungian greats, and Transpersonal Psychology mentors, and friends, z'l, that Reb Dovid has met in his journeys around the world.

Let us sing back to dear Reb Zeller, the songs that he gently, angelically sang from his heart for us, to help assist him on his aliyah to Sh'mayim / heaven, his new Makom / the only place that he did not have to take a jet plane, as he had travelled and given to us all, these many years. Let us do mitzvot in his neshamah's zechut / merit.

Reb Zeller taught me the concepts, NESHAMAH, and Tree of Life. Reb Zeller was my FIRST gevaldt teacher, my first Rebbe (before Reb Shlomo, z'tl). I will miss accompanying Reb Dovid on percussion, and doing anything that I could for him, and just being in his presence--in his light, his gift to us. Let us sing his songs as his legacy to us, and remember his teachings. Let us give tzedakah to continue his teachings, his song. Reb Zeller was due to teach Meditation at Elat Chayyim in the next days. (Rabbi David Cooper will take his class and they can use the tzedakah at the new location.)

It did not matter that I listened to Reb David's tapes for hours on end, especially on long trips, and insisted that strangers on the street listen to them, emes, and bought them for presents (even for rabbis), and played them on a Jewish radio program (that I 'guest hosted'), and sang them every chance I got; With every concert I would attend, I was in Heaven that we were invited to sing along with Reb David. His music got me through mamash, tough times (with a sick husband, z'l).

Can you hear Reb Dovid singing?: "Ruach, Rebono Shel Olam, In Your Light Do I See Light, Brothers and Friends, Narrow Bridge, For With You Is the Source of Life, Shomreini, Listen To My Heart's Song, 'Tis The Gift To Be Simple, Spirit Is Around Us Like a Rainbow 'Round The Sun, From You I Receive-To You I Give, You Are A Blessing Of The Universe, Love is The Only Power, Return Again, Sometimes It's Easy, It's a Joy To Get To Know You (listen to his website clip), This Too Shall Pass, Oh Go In Beauty, I Circle Around, and Why, Oh Why, Oh Why, Oh Why?"

Last week, my soul sister Ruthie Fogelman (living in the Old City), went to visit Reb Dovid in the hospital, and reported back to me, that when she mentioned my name, his face lit up. To know that I could bring any spark of light to my beloved rabbi, comforts me. Reb Dovid revealed those Sparks! I had let him know that according to his teachings and request, I had prayed MiSheberach for him (Rafael Dovid ben Leonora), "NOT with wrinkled forehead" * but with golden Light streaming to him.

With conscious awareness, Reb Dovid has transitioned to a far greater place to do his work, and I hope to glow in all the light that he has helped to create. I recall a few years back, when detouring from the airport, he placed his healing hands on the heart of my ailing husband Marcel, z'l. It was important for him to do that for me. Several months ago, Reb Dovid, although travelling, responded to my request to assist a friend in need of help for his heart.

I see Reb Dovid with his love, his chesed, mamash compassion, insight, humor, wisdom, gentle soul in the Sephirot of Hod and Tiferet, here in Los Angeles at B'nai Horin's home in Carole's garden or Rabbi Stan Levy's Shabbat table, at the Ritchie's LA home, Metivta, the LA Happy Minyan, Sarah's Tent, at his mother's, z'l, Jungian Institute, in Vallyermo at retreats with Makom Ohr Shalom, at Jerusalem's Yakar, and in Liberty Park, Israel with his family, wearing his happy tie dyed t-shirt (see photo), a garment I never saw him wear at his concerts.

Reb Dovid loved little stickers of colorful hands, reminding him on his wrist watch that it is hand of G*d's time. After I gave him the first sticker in an Israel park, I always supplied him with those hand stickers whenever he would call and ask for them; enough for him also to share. When Reb Zeller needed to really know what time he had to be somewhere on time in LA, he would telephone me. He knew that I would know ... I had done lots of PR for my beloved rebbe.

My memories are endless, as is my love for my Reb Dovid. He always said to me, "Call me David." I always called him "Reb Zeller", as I did last year at his mother, Lore's, z'l funeral. I am deeply grateful that she did not have to go to her son's funeral. I am so grateful that his family had chevra write personal stories about Reb Dovid, following the book that he had just written on his meeting special people in his life-time. If you would like to read a copy of what I wrote for the family book created last year celebrating his 60th birthday, let me know. Better yet, read the whole book, “The Story of a Soul – Meetings with a Remarkable Person". Click on Reb Zeller's website link to read the book written by his chevra.

Let me know if you would like an e-photo of Reb Zeller. The Divine One had mamash, guided me in Light (Hashgacha Pratit) to Rabbi Zeller, and I am grateful that I listened and have my Jewish Renewal community because of him. Thank you, Reb Zeller for this, and for my first Jewish meditation being inside of the letter "koof". You took me to places I had never dreamed of going. I recall that you said, "An unexplored dream is like an unopened letter."

Feminist that I am, you explained to me that in prayer, the alienating to me, title "'Master', could be like a master craftsman", and I could respectfully understand and accept that image. I used your chant, "Rebbono Shel Olam", Master of the Universe, whenever I needed shalom and serenity, and to be heard.

Rabbi David Zeller inspired me, and awakened in me through chant and mysticism, RUACH / spirit, and the Compassionate One, and I am eternally grateful to him.

May Reb Dovid's teachings and songs that he sang to us from his teachers and his heart, continue to be a blesSing, a bridge / gesher between our Nefesh, Ruach, Neshamah, and Heaven and Earth for revealing Divinity to us within Judaism, just as Reb Dovid desired for us.

One love, my sympathy, shalom and abundant blesSings of health, Ruach, and joy to you,
JOY Krauthammer

"Serve G*d With Joy"

Reb Dovid Zeller
© Joy Krauthammer

Reb David Zeller and Reb Stan Levy, B'nai Horin, LA
© Joy Krauthammer
Reb David Zeller and Joy Krauthammer

Reb David Zeller and Rabbi Aryeh Hirschfield, Jerusalem
(both of blessed memory, z"l)
© Joy Krauthammer

Rabbis David Zeller, Judith HaLevy (Sarah's Tent & Malibu JC&S), David A. Cooper
© Joy Krauthammer

Reb David Zeller
May 2, 2000 Israel Independence Day, Liberty Park, Jerusalem
© Joy Krauthammer

Reb David Zeller

Reb Shlomo Carlebach, Reb David Zeller, 
Ben Zion Lehrer (guitar, left of Shlomo) Reb Natan Rothstein (keyboard), Shoshana Shoshana (djembe drum)
 ©  Joy Krauthammer   July 1992, Israel Center, Jerusalem

 What we can do for others in Reb Dovid's zechut / merit, is what he asked us to do for him:

* The Healing of Positive Prayer by Reb Dovid Zeller, z'tl
"Please be sure your prayers and visualizations are positive. Do not focus on the disease with your wrinkled forehead and tightly closed eyes. Dance and sing for joy with full healing in your mind, heart and soul.

When people came to the Baal Shem Tov for healing, he would not focus on the sick individual. He regarded the person as a sign that the Shechina, HaShem's own Mystical Feminine Dimension, was out of harmony (in disease). He would pray for the healing of the Shechina, and the healing would come down into the world and restore the health of the ailing individuals."

"... And the way to sing the song of joy is by seeking the good in all people, especially in our selves. Each good point is one more note in the song of life."  - Rebbe Nachman of Breslov
Cassette Tape Review: LET GO by DAVID ZELLER
by Joy Krauthammer, ARTS Editor, Jewish Calendar Magazine 1991

Immediately I was struck with the maternal sketch of  Rabbi David Zeller's "LET GO" on the cassette tape cover, knowing the tape then had to be nurturing. The words are in Hebrew, but for me, transcend language barriers. The tape insert informs us in English of the translation and meaning of each song.

Accompanying himself on guitar, Rabbi David Zeller sings the nigunim / wordless melodies of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov and Shlomo Carlebach (who ordained Zeller), as well as his own. Included are Rebono Shel Olam, Shuvi Nafshi, Ki Le'Shu'atcha, B'Shem HaShem and Sabeinu.

I first experienced David Zeller at a house concert (at the Ritchie's home) and allowed myself to be gently drawn into the meditational sound of his healing voice. Since my 'sixties' days and dancing bare foot with flowers in my hair in Central Park with the Hari Krishnas, I have not chanted mantras. I have now opened up to a special sound which is available at all times in my home and car with the help of a playback machine. I use this tape for relaxation, stress reduction, and for feeling closer to G*d. Sometimes I just listen, and sometimes I sing along and feel as if I can help bring the world closer. The song sounds holy. Zeller teaches psychologically and spiritually through meditations, stories and songs. To order any of his many glorious tapes, call...

Now, two decades later, open and write to his website,
May the memory of Reb Dovid Zeller be for a blesSing.

photos by © Joy Krauthammer
(Photographer-in-Residence and Historian, LA Jewish Renewal)
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